Friday, June 22, 2007

It's like the 2001 All-star game every single year

So I guess the editor of the Fox Sports website was feeling pretty generous. His wife came to him on behalf of her mentally handicapped half-brother, Dayn Perry.

"He only has one passion in life, and that is baseball," she told him. "Even when he was little, he would run around in circles outside screaming 'I'm buu-buu-buu Joe Dimmagiooo, I'm buu-buu-buu Hank Aaron!' over and over again, a shit-eating grin on his face, and I'm not talking about the metaphorical kind; maybe you can do something for him."

So the kind Editor, expecting to recieve more frequent sexual intercourse from his wife, decided to give little Dayn his very own MLB column on Fox Sports. "It's not like anybody reads this fucking website anyways," he told his higher ups to justify the hiring.

Well, mister editor, the gig is up. I do sometimes read your website. Dayn's latest column has to be one the most godawful things I HAVE EVER READ (and yes, that includes The DaVinci Code). I would be much happier if he had just repeatedly slammed his face into the keyboard and hit "send" than do what he did here:

To sum up: "Let's send players who haven't played well all season to the all-star game"

Let's talk All-Star Game.


Okay

On July 10 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, the 78th "Midsummer Classic" will go down. The online balloting wraps up on June 28, and that means it's time to opine on who should be on the 2007 All-Star teams.

First, a few words on the process. In picking All-Star teams, "star" should be the operative word. That is, when possible it should be a showcase of baseball's luminaries — those established performers who have put up the numbers for years. After all, passing over a true star for an unproven talent who's enjoyed a hot three months doesn't make much sense, and it's not in keeping with what an All-Star Game should be. So it's not all about the numbers. Sure, they matter, but it's the numbers in tandem with name value that informs these choices.

Hey man, forget numbers! Let's not waste all that paper on ballots and just send the exact same people who played in the all-star game last year.

Sure, the all-star game is kind of silly and not really that worth getting riled up about. Except for one thing. When people (especially sportswriters) are summing up a player's career, they'll say something like, "Career .298 BA, career .569 slugging, 4 Gold Gloves, and 5 time All-Star" We already know from past seasons that All-Star balloting is a joke, but why attempt to take any and all credibilty away from the recognition?

So with those criteria laid out, let's take a look at who should be taking the field in San Francisco.

American League

Catcher

Winning the Vote: Ivan Rodriguez, Tigers

Who It Should Be: Jorge Posada, Yankees

This is an easy call. Posada's an established star (who might have a compelling Hall-of-Fame case by the time he retires), and this season he's hitting a robust .342 AVG/.399 OBP/.558 SLG. Rodriguez can't come close to those numbers.

All right, this is a good choice. Posada is having a monster year. Off to a good start Dayn (by the way, what kind of sick twisted fucker names their child DAYN?)

First Base

Winning the Vote: David Ortiz, Red Sox

Who It Should Be: Justin Morneau, Twins

Ortiz is the bigger name, but there's that minor problem about his not being a first baseman. Carlos Pena has actually been the most productive AL first baseman this season, but let's not pass over genuine stars to reward him for an aberrant few weeks of hot hitting. So Morneau, the defending AL MVP (albeit not a deserving one), gets the nod. He's a star, and he's on pace for 46 bombs this season.

Hey remember all that stuff he wrote about how payers should be picked based on star power? Not this time... after all last year's MVP needs to be on, despite him being an "unworthy MVP." Ortiz is the one with the "star power," and let's not forget that he's in the AL top 10 in OPS, BA, Slugging, and OBP, and leads Morneau in all of those categories. And if we're talking about a true first baseman, the nod should go to Kotchman, a great young star who's consistantly hitting better than any other "true" first baseman.

Second Base

Winning the Vote: Placido Polanco, Tigers

Who It Should Be: Placido Polanco, Tigers

You can make a case for Brian Roberts of the Orioles, but Polanco, his slick defense and his .339 batting average offer the best combo of performance and name value.

Once again, good choice. As a fan, I voted for Upton, although his troubles on defense have made me start to reget my vote.

Third Base

Winning the Vote: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

Who It Should Be: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

Does this one really need to be justified? He's A-Rod. He's slugging .688, and he leads the majors with 27 homers. Easiest call of the bunch.

Shortstop

Winning the Vote: Derek Jeter, Yankees

Who It Should Be: Derek Jeter, Yankees

Orlando Cabrera and the terminally underrated Carlos Guillen are both having excellent seasons, but Jeter is outdoing both of them with his gap power and .343 batting average. And, of course, he's Derek Jeter.

Wow, we're on a streak of good picks here, of course all of these are like picking between a McDonalds hamburger and Prime Rib

Outfield

Winning the Vote: Vladimir Guerrero, Angels; Manny Ramirez, Red Sox; Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners

Who It Should Be: Manny Ramirez, Red Sox (LF); Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners (CF); Vladimir Guerrero, Angels (RF)

First off, whereas the official balloting makes no distinctions among outfield positions, this scribe does.

This line made me very angry for some reason. "Sure, I agree with the voters, and there's one All-star from each OF position, but I'm going to be a pompous ass and write out the positions anyways, and then point out that I did it and the all-star committee didn't"

Left field, center field and right field are, after all, different positions, and lumping them together makes no more sense than doing the same with second base, shortstop and third base. They're not interchangeable. So in this space you'll find outfielders recognized for the positions they actually play.

What a fuckstick. "I'm not going to worry about making coherent arguments, instead I'm going to waste 50 words writing about some arbitrary distinction that has never factored into all star voting"

With the mini-rant out of the way, let's point out that Ramirez and Ichiro — both stars, both productive — are the best at their respective positions this season. The tough call is in right. Magglio Ordonez has been the top right fielder in all of baseball in 2007, but he's not the established star that Guerrero is. Guerrero's star power in tandem with his exceptional numbers (.327 AVG/.431 OBP/.566 SLG) earn him the close nod.

Ordonez is hitting .383.
Ordonez is hitting .383.
Ordonez is hitting .383.
Ordonez is hitting .383.
Ordonez is hitting .383.

He is, without a doubt, the best hitter in the majors this season. And it hasn't been streaky or fluky. He has consistantly hit the ball, hard and well, all season. If the best hitter in the game right now isn't in the all star game, what the fuck are we watching?

Starting Pitcher

Who It Should Be: Dan Haren, A's

Haren's been a good performer in the past, but never has he reached this level. Perhaps you'd like to see a bigger name take the mound in San Francisco, but Haren's been so good this season that his numbers overwhelm those concerns. C.C. Sabathia and John Lackey can make their cases, but Haren's been too unbelievable.

National League

Catcher

Winning the Vote: Russell Martin, Dodgers

Who It Should Be: Russell Martin, Dodgers

Not much to choose from in the NL in terms of well-established catchers. Paul Lo Duca's a five-time All-Star, but, frankly speaking, Martin is the superior and more compelling player these days. He hits, he runs the bases well, and he's athletic and heady behind the plate. Should be the first of many appearances for Martin.

First Base

Winning the Vote: Prince Fielder, Brewers

Who It Should Be: Albert Pujols, Cardinals

Tough call. Fielder has star appeal, and he's been the most productive first baseman in all of baseball this season. However, Pujols is finally hitting at his customary level, and he's one of the sport's biggest names. Fielder will have his place on the roster, but Pujols should be the starter.

And Dayn proposes continuing the long tradition of stupid NL all-star selections at first base. For years it was Mark "I don't play defense" McGwire getting the start, and then along comes Pujols, finally a worthy 1B starter. For the past several seasons, Pujols has been one of the best players, if not the best, in the majors. But he's simply not playing like an all-star. There are too many well-known firstbasmen in the NL who are having better seasons than Pujols to justify it.

Second Base

Winning the Vote: Chase Utley, Phillies

Who It Should Be: Chase Utley, Phillies

Take defense into the equation, and Orlando Hudson can make a case, but the nod goes to Utley. It's rare you find such power from a middle infielder (he's slugging .561 and on pace for 68 doubles), and he's already made one All-Star appearance.

Third Base

Winning the Vote: David Wright, Mets

Who It Should Be: Chipper Jones, Braves

Wright leads the voting, but Jones and Miguel Cabrera have both been more productive. Cabrera is tops in the numbers, but Jones, who's hitting .323 AVG/.411 OBP/.603 SLG, is a former MVP and five-time All-Star with one foot in the Hall of Fame. Again, "star" is the operative word.

Wright is a pretty undeserving all-star, and Jones is a good choice. Personally I'd go Cabrera, but hey that's me I guess.

Shortstop

Winning the Vote: Jose Reyes, Mets

Who It Should Be: Jose Reyes, Mets

The most exciting player in baseball is also tops at his position. Hanley Ramirez and Edgar Renteria both deserve nods of recognition, but Reyes combines performance and star appeal like no other shortstop in the NL.

Outfield

Winning the Vote: Carlos Beltran, Mets; Ken Griffey Jr., Reds; Alfonso Soriano, Cubs

Who It Should Be: Barry Bonds, Giants (LF); Carlos Beltran, Mets (CF); Ken Griffey Jr., Reds (RF)

Again, we'll dispense with the inane practice of lumping all outfield positions together.

Fuck You

Bonds is an easy choice for left field. Matt Holliday of the Rockies has been better in 2007, but Bonds has still performed at a high level. As well, love him or — more likely — hate him, he's the biggest name in baseball.

Yes easy for people who don't actually watch baseball. Are you fucking kidding me? Barry Bonds. The same Barry Bonds who can't play in consecutive ball games, is hitting a pedestrian .283, is a complete liability on defense, is nearly universally hated, and has hit the same number of home runs this month (2) as Willy Taveras? Bonds has earned every single spot he's gotten on the all-star teams of past years, but this season, he is no all-star. I don't care if it's our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the ballot; if Jesus is hitting below .300, there's no goddamned way he. deserves to be called an all-star.

Matt Holliday, the second best hitter in the Majors, and up and coming superstar, apparantly doesn't deserve a spot. But neither does the best hitter in basball (Ordonez), so I guess it's all fair.


Center field presents a serious dilemma. Philadelphia's Aaron Rowand has been rather easily the best at the position this season, but his star doesn't rise to the level of Beltran's. So Beltran, by the slimmest of margins, gets the nod over Rowand because of track record, a modest advantage in defense and a serious advantage in star power.

Beltran: career .280 hitter, 1350 career hits, and a lifetime .876 SPA (star power average). You know, this season he may be 17th among NL outfielders in OPS and OBP, 18th in Slugging, and 20th in BA, but his League leading 20 magazine interviews really helps his cause here. Let's not forget his 5.53 saturation on ESPN, and his 1/10 Greater New York area car dealership ad spokesman ratio is only topped by Derek Jeter. How can you not pick him?

As for Griffey in right, it doesn't get any easier than this.

Actually it does; I know I made light of Jesus Christ's current batting output, but it's so easy to forget his third season in the bigs. He was hitting .429, with .976 slugging (WOW) by the all star break, all while healing the sick, poor and hungry in each city he visited. I think that was probably an easier vote than Griffey this season.

He's a future first-ballot Hall of Famer and future member of the 600 home run club, and he's also the best at his position this season.

If by best, you mean, actually not the best, then yes, he is the best player at his position. Also I guess that means we'll have to clear up a spot for Sosa over there in the AL. I was gonna suggest we at least put Ordonez on the bench, but fuck that man. I wanna see me some Slammin' Sammy!

Starting Pitcher

Who It Should Be: Jake Peavy, Padres

Easy call here. Peavy's a rising star, and he's been absolutely dominant this season. He's already got an ERA title under his belt, and he's headed for a third consecutive 200-strikeout season. Also, at 9-1 and with a 1.98 ERA, he's the early favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award this season.


Here's a message for you Dayn: If I murdered you, made a suit out of your skin and shoved a rabid gorrila into my Dayn-suit, the folks over at your Fox Sports office wouldn't know the difference. In fact I'd bet Dayn ver 2.0 would get a raise for "huge increases in writing quality," and "significant decreases in poop throwing/smearing incidents around the office"


7 comments:

pnoles said...

eriz,

This was pretty funny shit, but there's one thing in here that REALLY bothers the crap out of me.

"I don't care if it's our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the ballot; if Jesus is hitting below .300, there's no goddamned way he. deserves to be called an all-star."

What if Jesus is hitting .290 but has clubbed 25 homers and walks once of every 7 at-bats? He shouldn't be an all-star just becuase like, 3 more of his ground balls or bloopers didn't find a hole in the defense? Batting average is an awful, awful barometer for talent.

Chris W said...

are you saying jesus christ can hit a curveball?

eriz said...

Ah, I agree with this to an extent... making an arbitrary BA basment (like say at .300) is not a good thing to do, since there are tons of other factors that should come into play when determining and all-star.

Batting Average, is, however, a pretty good indication of how well someone is hitting in the long run. You make an example of the few bloopers or grounders that fall in unlucky places, but because there are so many at bats over the course of the season, these things dissappear or become insignificant statistically. Furthermore, why should Bonds be forgiven for these when he has (including walks) 100 or so less at bats than the other top hitters in the Majors?

The smaller sample size makes any argument you have about Bonds in comparison to other hitters pretty sketchy. But I guess I shouldn't be making wild claims like that, because that's pretty much what I was complaining about in Dayn's column.

I still think Bonds does not deserve a spot, and that's not just because I hate him. He walks a lot because of his reputation, and he's still got huge slugging average, but there are too many other hitters who, day in and day out, are simply playing more like an "all-star" than Bonds.

Ugh, one more thing; people have sort of started to use OPS (instead of BA) to measure how much of on offensive weapon a player is. I don't think that's the best solution, either. It takes away from guys like Willy Taveras, who has a fairly low OPS (.731), but is able to get on base with alarming frquency often through his amazing speed and ability to put the ball where he wants, especially in the infield.

eriz said...

And fuck yes, Jesus was one of the best off-speed hitters in the history of the majors. He couldn't handle the fastball to save all om mankind from the power of sin, but you take what you could get

Chris said...

If you set up Jesus away offspeed and then came back under his hands with some hard stuff he was an easy out.

pnoles said...

I'm not arguing for or against Bonds' inclusion.

What I am saying is that batting average is a pretty fluky stat, because at the end of the year, a .280 batting average isn't all that dissimilar from a .300 batting average. The season is long, but that doesn't mean everything automatically cancels out. The difference between .280 and .300 at the end of the year is just 10 balls that find a hole in the defense. Over 500+ at bats, its plenty reasonable to attribute that difference to 10 lucky hits. Just ask Lew Ford.

I agree that OPS isn't perfect, due to it overstating slugging percentage as opposed to on base percentage, but it's far better than batting average for evaluation. I think equivalent average, EqA, defined as the total offensive production per out recorded is the best way to compare players within a season. It kicks the crap out of batting average, which claims that Reggie Willits has been more valuable than Vladimir Guerrero this year. Hell, Andruw Jones had a .263 BA when he hit 51 HR. Andruw Jones was a VERY valuable player that year, as well as in many seasons of his career when he had a low BA. BA made you believe that Matt Holiday was the 2nd best hitter in the majors, when Alex Rodriguez has probably been more valuable, homering more than twice as often as Holliday. To sum it up, batting average is immensely fluky and by itself, can NEVER be used to argue one player is better than another.

Chris W said...

to chris (pretender)--that would be such a judas move.

that or bob gibson.